CIRC-PACK - Towards circular economy in the plastic packaging value chain

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CIRC-PACK project aims at more sustainable, efficient, competitive, less fossil fuel dependence, integrated and interconnected plastic packaging value chain. To this end, three case studies will work in developing, testing and validating better system-wide economic and environmental outcomes by 1) decoupling the chain from fossil feedstock, 2) reducing the negative environmental impact of plastic packaging; and 3) creating an effective after-use plastics economy. The work will be supported by non-technological analysis and advanced methodological analysis (including circular economy and industrial symbiosis principles) which will trigger a broad deployment of the tested solutions. CIRC-PACK will enable a breakthrough of biodegradable plastics using alternative biobased raw materials, which will have an instrumental role to play in the subsequence steps of the plastic value chain. Eco-design packaging for improving and multilayer and multicomponent packaging will be technologically advanced and adapted also to the new materials produced. Thus these developments will contribute with great impact to the packaging footprint, and increase of the biobased content and use of compostable materials. Lastly, a multi-sectorial cascaded approach along plastic packaging value chain will be applied with critical impacts in other value chains beyond the targeted plastic packaging value chain. The overall outcome of the project will facilitate the transition from the current linear plastic packaging value chain to circular economy principles. CIRC-PACK will last from the 1st of May 2017 to 30th of April 2020.

REFUCOAT - Fully recyclable food packaging with enhanced gas barrier properties and new functionalities through the use of high performance coatings

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RefuCoat project aims to develop hybrid bio-based high oxygen/water barrier and active coatings to be used in a monolayer bio-based food packaging (films and trays) as alternative to current metallized and modified atmosphere (MAP) packaging to avoid the use of non-renewable materials in multilayer structures that currently lead to complex and expensive recycling steps. Hybrid coating formulations will combine cost-efficiently produced polyglycolic acid (PGA) and modified silica oxide. Fully biodegradable packaging for fresh food products will be obtained with middle chain modified PHAs. PGA and PHA based hybrid coatings with high gas barrier properties will be further improved with active substances for improved shelf-life. Furthermore, new packaging based on bio-PET and bio-PE combined with hybrid and active coatings will be developed. The generated products will be validated and compared to current metallized, non-bio-based alternatives in industrial products - in performance, shelf-life and biodegradability. Safety and regulatory compliance, environmental and economic sustainability will be specifically addressed. The RefuCoat consortium is formed by 12 synergistic partners from 6 European countries. The project maximizes exploitation within the Consortium, promoting a circular economy concept, but also considers dissemination and communication in order to maximize the value of the project outcomes. Refucoat's main impacts are expected through the improved performance of food packaging, reduction of landfilling waste, cost-and environmental effectiveness in processing, improved preservation of food products, new markets and a significant contribution in more than 880 jobs.

AFTERLIFE - Advanced Filtration TEchnologies for the Recovery and Later conversIon of relevant Fractions from wastEwater

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AFTERLIFE proposes a flexible, cost- and resource-efficient process framed in the zero-waste and circular economy approach for the recovery and valorization of the relevant fractions from wastewater. The first step of such process is an initial step consisting of a cascade of membrane filtration units for the separation of the total of solids in wastewater. Then, the concentrates recovered in each unit will be treated to obtain high-pure extracts and metabolites or, alternatively, to be converted into value-added biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates). Moreover, the outflow of the process is an ultra-pure water stream that can be directly reused. The outcomes of the project will focus on:

  • Demonstration of an integrated pilot using real wastewater from three water intensive food processing industries (fruit processing, cheese and sweets manufacturing)
  • Demonstration of the applicability of the recovered compounds and the value added bioproducts in manufacturing environments

REsources from URban BIo-waSte

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RES URBIS aims at making it possible to convert several types of urban bio-waste into valuable bio-based products, in an integrated single bio-waste bio-refinery and by using one main technology chain. This goal will be pursued through: 

  • Collection and analysis of data on urban bio-waste production and present management systems in four territorial clusters that have been selected in different countries and have different characteristics. 
  • Well-targeted experimental activity to solve a number of open technical issues (both process- and product-related), by using the appropriate combination of innovative and catalogue-proven technologies.
  • Market analysis within several economic scenarios and business models for full exploitation of bio-based products (including a path forward to fill regulatory gaps).


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According to Plastics Europe 9.6 million tones of post-consumer plastic waste was disposed in European landfills in 2012. This number accounts for 38.1% of the total post-consumer plastic waste generated. Depositing plastic in landfills is a very inefficient use of resources. Though the trend in recent years has been for less landfilled plastics further action is needed to reach the EU target of eliminating plastic waste sent to landfill by 2020. Recycling reduces the amount of plastic waste sent to landfill, reduces the need for non-renewable raw materials namely petroleum and saves on energy so they represent an ecologically and economically efficient recovery route. However, conventional recycling is not possible for all types of plastic waste, such as waste containing mixed plastics, or contaminated or severely degraded plastics. There are other technologies that can potentially valorize this non-recyclable plastic waste (NRPW), such as gasification or pyrolysis for chemicals and energy production, but they may still pose environmental problems. 


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Project PULPACKTION will develop cellulose-based packaging solutions for the specific demands of the food and electronic packaging industries, reducing dependence on non-renewable fossil fuel based plastics. This will be accomplished by the combination of improved cellulose pulps and bio-based polymers. The use of improved wet molded cellulose as the main packaging material will reduce the final package weight and increase its sustainability, providing a controlled shaped part. The package solution will help reduce the waste streams by substituting plastics with an eco-friendly bio-based solution with similar properties as plastics.


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The project aims at the valorization of agricultural residues coming from mushroom (Agaricus Bisporus) farming residues as a case to set up new cascading possibilities using innovative procedures to extract high value bio-based additives (antioxidants, antimicrobials, proteins), convert lipids into bioplasticizers and polysaccharides (glucans and fermentable sugars) into biopolymers using remaining side streams in substrates to close the agricultural cycle by composting and/or biogas synthesis.


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Today, fresh food as well as convenience food is sold in packages. Hygienic conditions, long shelf life and easy availability of these packed products account for our standard of living. However, this convenience contributes in a significant way to environmental pollution, as packaging is mainly achieved by plastic materials in this case. Biodegradable packaging materials have been on the market for many decades. However, there are severe restrictions preventing their broad application in food packaging, as these materials do not provide the requested properties, such as a sufficient barrier against water vapor, oxygen or flavors.

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